Saturday, October 20, 2007

It went really well

Our CVGS seminar "Genealogy Online - Discover Your Family History" went pretty well today. The minor start-up problems were quickly overcome, the speaker stayed pretty close to the time limits, and the attendees received a wealth of information.

The biggest problems were ones you like to have. We had 48 reservations, but 62 people attended, and there was still a line out the auditorium door at the scheduled start time of 10:20 AM. So we started at 10:30 when everyone was registered. The program ran about 15 minutes behind, but nobody seemed to care much. We made only 50 copies of the syllabus (on Monday we had only 18 reservations), and need to make 5 more to mail out to the folks who didn't get one today. We almost ran out of food, but had just enough. When we set up the computer and projector, we were missing the video cable - we found it in the Computer Lab where we left it last wednesday!

Of the 62 attendees, about 25 were non-CVGS members, and 5 joined the society. That's a big addition to an 80 member society.

The talks went pretty well - I had to talk fast and only highlight the screen shots because I had about 100 slides in each 50 minute presentation. All of the links and web pages shown were in the syllabus, so there was no need to spell things out or pronounce them slowly. We asked for written questions, which I answered at the beginning of the next session. The Q&A at the very end went well, with the most challenging question being "What do you see happening with the subscription sites in the future?" Crystal ball time - I'll probably write a separate blog post with my answer.

I was concerned that my coughing jags (caused by medications) would hamper the talks, but I sucked a lozenge during each talk and that really helped. My throat is sore, and my feet hurt, but I weathered the four hours of presentation well. The microphone helped with projection, although my hand cramped while holding it (the library has only a hand-held).

The attendees enjoyed taking their food out to the park adjacent to the library and sitting in small groups on the park benches - it was a 75 F degree day with some clouds here in Chula Vista - just about perfect weather. I wandered out there with my plate and talked to some of the folks, especially the non-members. Genealogists are really friendly! And supportive.

One of the major financial advantages that our society has is that we use the library venues - auditorium, conference room and computer lab - free of charge each month. We really appreciate the library's support, and they appreciate our support of them. However, when we use the library's venues, we can't charge money for the programs. We can charge for printed materials, and did charge $5 for a 24 page syllabus. This allowed us to recoup our printing, food and drawing prize costs.

All in all, it was a very good day for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society - we had a high quality genealogy program, an excellent lunch, gained some new members, and didn't lose money doing it. This was our third seminar effort, and we continue to learn things about programming, publicity and cooperation each time.

UPDATE 10/21 9 AM: I added a few details above. I have posted a summary of the day on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog here.

1 comment:

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